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Literary Mama Rewind: Holiday Food

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Welcome to Literary Mama Rewind! Every few weeks we'll round up some of our favorite essays, stories, poems, columns and reviews from the Literary Mama archives relating to a particular theme. It's the season of holidays, turkeys dinners, and sharing food with family. This week we are digging into some Literary Mama food stories.

Food stories can be aspirational; they can tell of a cuisine, culture, or community. They might be about sourcing ingredients, a family dinner, a dessert. Sometimes they're prescriptive; other times, they offer a vicarious thrill. But the best food stories, as writers like M.F.K. Fisher proved decades ago, aren't just about food.

I'm only a few minutes late, but when I pull into the driveway Mama is already out on the steps, standing under the aluminum awning. She comes stumping down the walkway in her clear plastic rain boots. She's clutching the slow-cooked Butterball turkey she brings to Aunt Ena's every year.

Lane's mother insisted on Thanksgiving at the family home outside Atlanta. Compliance to this mandate was the one rule Lane considered non-negotiable, and it seemed enough to placate her mother for several months.

Remember Thanksgivukkah? The American celebration of Thanksgiving coincided with the first day (and second night) of Hanukkah on November 28, for the first time since the nineteenth century.

Food is an important part of this family's identity. We celebrate bounty, we talk about food past and present.

  • We Are Family by Ona Gritz from the Column Doing It Differently 

Since I've been with Dan, Ethan and I have celebrated Thanksgiving with his family at his mom's house in Collegeville. A few years ago, when she was eighty-one, Miriam remarried after nearly thirty years of widowhood. At first it seemed a practical decision.

As Thanksgiving approaches, you may be thinking about stuffing, pie, and football, but I've got Rivka on my mind. Rivka is the heroine of Rivka's First Thanksgiving, a picture book about an immigrant girl on the Lower East Side who persuades her family's rebbe that the Jews should be allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Start stressing about Halloween festivities at the kiddies' school. Read flyer about Room 9 Halloween party. Experience disbelief that each family is to send in some kind of Halloween junk.

Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer living in Ithaca, NY. Her essay “Blood Mountain” won the 2017 Notes From the Field contest at Flyway Journal. Other work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including, NewfoundLife in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.

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